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Zoo Atlanta to break ground on new reptile exhibit

11:31 AM, Jun 4, 2013   |    comments
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Glass frog, Zoo Atlanta

ATLANTA -- As much as they try, and boy do they try, it's hard for kids to get up close to the creatures in Zoo Atlanta's World of Reptiles.

Even the Zoo's president admits  the railings are too high and the environment's not as natural as the zoo's other exhibits.

"It's over 50 years old," Zoo Atlanta President and CEO Raymond King told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie. "We've gotten our useful life out of it."

King remembers going to the World of Reptiles as a kid, and it really hasn't changed much.

It's now the oldest structures still in use for public exhibits at the zoo.

"It's one of those institutions," Kind said. "For some, it's a last bastion of childhood."

But change is coming, thanks to the zoo's single-largest fundraising effort.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, zoo officials will break ground on a $22 million, state-of-the-art amphibian and reptile experience.

"We're very excited about the evolution of the new reptile exhibits," said donor Nora Floersheim, who brought her youngest grandchild to the exhibit on Monday. "It's going to be great for Atlanta."

King said the new exhibit will be a new experience for visitors.

"A young child will be able to go face-to-face with a croc under water, and that's life-changing," King said. "We want to inspire children to care about science and the environment, and the new building will be more conducive to that."

The new exhibit is scheduled to open in 2015.

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